Mukesh Ambani is ranked fourth among the World’s top 10 billionaires by the Forbes Magazine with total assets worth $29 billion followed by another Indian, steel tycoon L N Mittal, who ranked fifth with a total value of $28.7 billion.
The Forbes Billionaires list for 2010 has witnessed Mexican Carlo Slim surpassing Bill Gates and Warrant Buffett to be the richest man on the earth. Slim’s total worth rose $18.5 billion during the year to an estimated $53.5 billion, the Forbes Magazine said. Gates remained second with a fortune of $53 billion.
Apart from Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Head of ArcelorMittal L N Mittal, there were four other Indian tycoons in the top 50 list and 49 others in the complete list of 1,011 billionaires.
The four Indian businessmen, besides Ambani and Mittal, in the top 50 list are Azim Premji (ranked: 28, worth: $17 billion), Sashi Ruia and Ravi Ruia (ranked: 40, worth: $13 billion), and Savitri Jindal (ranked: 44, worth: $12.2 billion).
DLF’s K P Singh (74), Aditya Birla Group’s Kumar Mangalam Birla (86) and Bharti Airtel’s Head Sunil Mittal (87) are the other Indians who are among the top 100 wealthy in India.
Do you know who is the richest person in the world ?……….
William Gates III
Rank: 1 Net Worth: $40.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Software visionary regains title as the world’s richest man despite losing $18 billion in the past 12 months. Stepped down from day-to-day duties at Microsoft last summer to devote his talents and riches to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Organization’s assets were $30 billion in January; annual letter lauds endowment manager Michael Larson for limiting last year’s losses to 20%. Gates decided to increase donations in 2009 to $3.8 billion, up 15% from 2008. Dedicated to fighting hunger in developing countries, improving education in America’s high schools and developing vaccines against malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS. Appointed Microsoft Office veteran Jeffrey Raikes chief exec of Gates Foundation in September. Gates remains Microsoft chairman. Sells shares each quarter, redeploys proceeds via investment vehicle Cascade; more than half of fortune invested outside Microsoft. Stock down 45% in past 12 months. “Creative capitalist” wants companies to match profit making with doing good.
Rank: 2 Net Worth: $37.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Last year America’s most beloved investor was the world’s richest man . This year he has to settle for second place after losing $25 billion in 12 months. Shares of Berkshire Hathaway down 45% since last March. Injected billions of dollars into Goldman Sachs, GE in exchange for preferred stock last fall; propped up insurance firm Swiss Re in February with $2.6 billion infusion. Admits he made some “dumb” investment mistakes in 2008. Upbeat about America’s future: “Our economic system has worked extraordinarily well over time. It has unleashed human potential as no other system has, and it will continue to do so.” Scoffs at Wall Street’s over-reliance on “history-based” models: “If merely looking up past financial data would tell you what the future holds, the Forbes 400 would consist of librarians.” Son of Nebraska politician delivered newspapers as a boy. Filed first tax return at age 13, claiming $35 deduction for bicycle. Studied under value investing guru Benjamin Graham at Columbia. Took over textile firm Berkshire Hathaway 1965. Today holding company invested in insurance (Geico, General Re), jewelry (Borsheim’s), utilities (MidAmerican Energy), food (Dairy Queen, See’s Candies). Also has non-controlling stakes in Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, Wells Fargo.
Carlos Slim Helu & family
Rank: 3 Net Worth: $35.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Economic downturn and plunging peso shaved $25 billion from the fortune of Latin America’s richest man. Global recession testing his ability to live up to the principles he sets for his employees: “Maintain austerity in times of fat cows.” Son of a Lebanese immigrant bought fixed line operator Telefonos de Mexico (Telmex) in 1990; now controls 90% of Mexico’s telephone landlines. Would be a billionaire based on his dividends alone. Biggest holding: $16 billion stake in America Movil, Latin America’s largest mobile phone company with 173 million customers. America Movil and Telmex reportedly planning to jointly invest $4 billion to bolster telecom infrastructure in Latin America. Buying up cheap media, energy and retail assets. Last year took stakes in New York Times Co., former billionaire Anthony O’Reilly’s Independent News & Media and Bronco Drilling; also increased position in Saks. Baseball statistics aficionado, art collector
Rank: 4 Net Worth: $22.5 bil, Fortune: self made
Database titan continues to engulf the competition; Oracle has racked up 49 acquisitions in the past 4 years. Bought BEA Systems for $8.5 billion last year. Still sitting on $7 billion in cash. Revenues up 11% to $10.9 billion in the six months ended November 30; profits also up 11% to $2.4 billion. Stock down 25% in past 12 months. Invested $125 million in Web software outfit Netsuite; took public in 2007, stock has fallen 80% since. His shares still worth $300 million. Chicago native studied physics at U. of Chicago, didn’t graduate. Started Oracle in 1977. Public 1986, a day before Microsoft. Owns 453-foot Rising Sun; built a smaller leisure boat because superyacht is hard to park. Squabbling in court with Swiss boating billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli over terms of next America’s Cup. Recently unveiled hulking 90-foot trimaran he intends to use to win it.
Ingvar Kamprad & family
Rank: 5 Net Worth: $22.0 bil, Fortune: self made
Peddled matches, fish, pens, Christmas cards and other items by bicycle as a teenager. Started selling furniture in 1947. Opened first Ikea store 50 years ago; stores’s name is a combination of initials of his first and last name, his family farm and the nearest village. Retired in 1986; company’s “senior adviser” still reportedly works tirelessly on his brand. Discount retailer now sells 9,500 items in 36 countries; prints catalog in 27 languages. Revenues up 7% to $27.4 billion in fiscal year 2008. Opened tenth store in China this February; planning to open first in Dominican Republic later this year. Three sons all work at the company. Thrifty entrepreneur flies economy class, frequents cheap restaurants and furnishes his home mostly with Ikea products.
Rank: 6 Net Worth: $21.5 bil, Fortune:self made
Source:Aldi , Age:89, Country Of Citizenship:Germany,Residence:Mulheim an der Ruhr
Germany’s richest person owns discount supermarket giant Aldi Sud. Retailer faring well amid economic downturn; analysts expect its 2008 sales to be up 9.4% to $33.7 billion. Sales in the U.S. up estimated 20% last year to $7 billion. Plans to open 75 U.S. stores in 2009, including first in New York City. With younger brother, Theo, transformed their mother’s corner grocery store into Aldi after World War II. Brothers split ownership in 1961; Karl took the stores in southern Germany, plus the rights to the brand in the U.K., Australia and the U.S. Theo got northern Germany and the rest of Europe. Retired from daily operations. Fiercely private: little known about him other than that he apparently raises orchids and plays golf.
Rank: 7 Net Worth: $19.5 bil, Fortune: inherited and growing
Oversees Reliance Industries, India’s most valuable company by market cap despite stock falling 40% in past year. Merging his Reliance Petroleum with flagship Reliance Industries. As part of deal, will exercise right to buy back Chevron’s 5% stake in Reliance Petroleum at $1.20 per share—the same price at which he sold it 3 years ago. Today the stock trades for $1.80 a share. Increased stake in Reliance Industries in October; paid $3.4 billion to convert 120 million preferential warrants into shares. Reliance Petroleum refinery on India’s western coast began operating in December despite falling global demand and declining margins. Late father Dhirubhai founded Reliance and built it into a massive conglomerate. After he died Mukesh and his brother, Anil, ran the family business together for a brief time. But siblings feuded over control; mother eventually brokered split of assets. Brothers may be looking to bury hatchet; played joint hosts at mother’s recent 75th-birthday bash. Has yet to move into his 27-story home that he’s building at a reported cost of $1 billion. Ardent fan of Bollywood films. Wife, Nita, oversees school named after his father.
Rank: 8 Net Worth: $19.3 bil, Fortune: inherited and growing
Indian immigrant heads world’s largest steel company; ArcelorMittal was formed via hostile takeover 3 years ago. Stock in company makes up bulk of his fortune; shares at a 4-year low with steel prices down 75% since last summer. Company forced to pay heavy fines after a French antitrust investigation found 10 companies guilty of price-fixing in European steel markets. Arcelor posted $2.6 billion loss in most recent quarter; announced plans to slow acquisitions, cut capital expenditures, pay down debt. Started in family steel business in the 1970s, branched out on his own in 1994. Initially bought up steel mills on the cheap in Eastern Europe. Company bought 19.9% stake in Australia’s Macarthur Coal last year. Also owns pieces of Mumbai’s Indiabulls Group, London’s RAB Capital; owns stake in, sits on board of Goldman Sachs. Holds substantial cash; owns 12-bedroom mansion in London’s posh Kensington neighborhood.
Rank: 9 Net Worth:Net Worth:$18.8 bil, Fortune:self made
Source:Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Age:87, Country Of Citizenship:Germany
Runs discount supermarket group Aldi Nord; firm holding up amid economic downturn. Sales expected to hit $31 billion in 2008. After World War II he and older brother Karl transformed their mother’s corner grocery into Aldi. Brothers split ownership in 1961; Karl took the stores in southern Germany, plus the rights to the brand in the U.K., Australia and the U.S. Theo got the northern Germany stores and the rest of Europe. Unable to operate Aldi stores in U.S., Theo developed discount food store Trader Joe’s; now has more than 320 U.S. stores. Also owns stake in Supervalu. Became a recluse after being kidnapped for 17 days in 1971; said to collect old typewriters; loves golf.
Rank: 10, Net Worth: $18.3 bil ,Fortune: self made
Railway worker’s son started as a gofer in a shirt store. With then-wife Rosalia Mera, also now a billionaire, started making dressing gowns and lingerie in their living room. Business became one of world’s most successful apparel manufacturers. Today Inditex has more than 4,000 stores in 71 countries. Sales: $12.3 billion. Ortega is chairman. Company exported its cheap chic Zara stores to 4 new markets last year: Ukraine, South Korea, Montenegro and Honduras. Stock up 1% in past 12 months, but fortune down because of weak euro. Also has personal investments in gas, tourism, banks and real estate. Owns properties in Madrid, Paris, London, Lisbon, plus a luxury hotel and apartment complex in Miami, a horse-jumping circuit, and an interest in a soccer league. Shuns neckties and fanfare. Daughter Marta works for Inditex; recent speculation suggests she is being groomed to eventually replace her father.
The aims of Dr. R .Bashardost the Ex planning minister and parliament independent candidate of Kabul
1- Summoning of ministers for interrogation from their works results.
2- Non – existence confidence vote to lazy, non – professional and profiteer ministers.
3-Amputation of exorbitant salaries of foreign advisers, west ran and martial princes.
4- In crease of civilians and military staff’s salaries.
5- Increase of convinced salaries.
6- Cleaning of Governmental a demonstrations from allayed, in Justice and corruption.
7- Cleaning of national army and national police from non – professional members.
8- Construction of schools , religious schools, preparation of table , chair , book , scholarship , dormitory for students and higher education’s learners .
9- Construction of schools, religions schools, preparation of table, chair, book, scholarship, dormitory for students and higher education learners.
10- Preparation of abode malice available of work and educational possibilities for refugees.
11- Distribution of land for ones bales, Marty’s families Teachers, officials, refugees and deprived.
12- Obtaining of usurped lands of Governmental and personal again.
13- Trail of embezzlement public properties responsible.
14- Giving the first right to inner reconstruction’s companies and projects.
15- Dis-solving of economic criminal –N-G-O.
16- giving the first right in recruitment of Afghan workers and tradesmen.
17- serious making of dams reserve of water and watering of cultivation and generation of power.
18- Support strengthening of industries and internal productions.
19- Supporting of private sector for economic development .
20- Serious control of prices trues the health competition.
21- Expansion and development of economic, social and cultural symmetrical.
22- Demolishing of heavy direct and indirect taxes.
23- Survey, control and serious watching on the international community aids.
24- Close up the forgone prisons in Afghanistan.
25- Co-operation with international community in combat against terrorism and unsecurity.
26- Serious opposition with each kind of transaction with oppressors.
27- Forgiven policy appoint anent on the basis of national interests.
28- Immediate construction of equipped, modern clinic and hospitals.
29- Cleaning of Governmental administrations serum smugglers of narcotic materials and destroying of cultivation of poppy.
30- Immediate preparation of drinkable water and power.
31- Immediate reconstruction of roads, and public transportation.
32- Immediate programmed of canalize and regular cleanness of city from impurities.
Qazi Faez Isa, son of Qazi Muhammad Isa, has sworn in as Chief Justice Balochistan. He is the firstever Hazara to serve as Cheif Justice of Balochistan High Court.
Late Qazi Muhammad Isa was a prominent leader of Pakistan Movement and close friend of Quid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He sanctioned Voice of Hazaragi in Radio Pakistan in 1975. Qazi Muhammad Isa (Marhoom) raised the voice of deprived Hazaras of Independent Hazarajat in UN for the first time in 1970s and succeeded in getting Hazara delegation in the UN represented by Tanzeem Nasle Nau Hazara Mughul.
Kaleem Umer, cousin of Qazi Faez, writes in Daily Times that the Isa Famiy belonged to Hazaras of Kandhar, who are predominantely Sunni.
The family moved to present Pakistan in 1880s when the tyrant ruler Abdul Rahman imposed a genocidal war against Hazaras killing about 60% of the total population.
Qazi Faez is a senior lawyer. He was born in 1959 in Quetta. He completed his primary and secondary education from the Quetta Grammar School. He did his BA Honours in Law and later got the degree of Bar-at-Law from London. He has written several books.
Ashraf Jahangir Qazi is the cousin of Qazi Faez. He served as the Ambassador of Pakistan in the United States and India. Currently he is the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Sudan.
NOTE: Daily Jang Quetta Edition in its publication of August 06 has written Qazi Faez as a Pushtoon. (See Baqia Number 53)
It is to mention that Hazaras in Pakistan live in Quetta, Karachi, Hyderabad, Nawab Shah, Sangar, Khair Pur, Zhob, Muslim Bagh, Mach, Loraralai, Duki, Sinjavi, Harnae Marvar, Dagari and in some other cities.
Qazi Faez Isa is the son of Qazi Mohammad Isa, the foremost freedom fighter from Balochistan and a close associate of the Quaid, whose efforts were chiefly responsible for Balochistan joining Pakistan.
Q: Would you say that the emergency is tantamount to martial law?
A: This emergency has no legal or constitutional basis. This is something hybrid, which the constitution does not allow or permit. You could call it martial law or any name you want to give it. In other words, it is no law at all; you may call it the law of the jungle.
Q: What are the legal ramifications of the new Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO)?
A: The PCO states that the constitution is held in abeyance. The constitution does not provide for it, the constitution does not envisage a provisional constitutional order. It has zero legal or constitutional sanctity.
We must understand the special nature of the constitution. The constitution declares that each and every citizen of Pakistan, and every person within Pakistan, even if he is a foreigner, has to abide by the constitution of Pakistan. You cannot hold the constitution in abeyance. It defeats the purpose of a constitution. The constitution is not a simple law, it is the paramount law. Article 6 of the constitution says that anybody who tries to abrogate it by force of arms, or otherwise, or assists in its abrogation, commits high treason.
Q: What, in your view, are the legal or ethical limits, if any, of judicial activism?
A: The 1973 constitution is very crucial for the survival of the country. It is the only constitutional document ever to have been promulgated unanimously by each and every member of the National Assembly. Out of 200, 196 voted in favour of it. There were four abstentions, not a single vote of dissent against the passing of the constitution in 1973. In the document, the framers of the constitution provided Article 184, which also stipulated the boundaries of judicial activism. The boundaries are, firstly, that the court can take up only a matter of public importance, and secondly, one that pertains to fundamental rights. So if a wholescale infringement of fundamental rights is taking place, Article 184 enables the Supreme Court to act. This is, of course, in the larger interest of the people. For instance, if a dam that is providing water to say 10,000, or even 1,000 people, is being polluted, their fundamental rights are being violated. They may not have the resources to initiate a case against the violators, but the court can take up the matter. So it is a wonderful device. It’s good for the poorer segments of society, it protects them and it supports them – and it is very much a matter of fundamental rights. Now if I have a personal dispute with somebody, this doesn’t come into the picture at all. So, the test is fundamental rights and public importance. If the Supreme Court takes notice of a matter which does not fall within these two conditions then it can be said to be acting beyond its jurisdiction.
Q: The parameters of judicial activism set by the constitution notwithstanding, there has been a debate in certain quarters about some of the recent rulings of the Supreme Court under Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, namely the release of the Lal Masjid militants and the order to the authorities to pay blood money to the families of those killed in the operation on the masjid. In light of the extraordinary circumstances prevailing in the country, how wise were these decisions? Is there any provision for when the law can be modified in the larger public interest?
A: The chief justice did not pass any orders in the matter of Lal Masjid that you are referring to. Instead, orders were passed by Justice Nawaz Abbasi and Justice Javed Buttar, who, incidentally, were among the first to have been offered the oath under the PCO and who took the oath under the PCO. Furthermore, what I have been able to understand of the Lal Masjid scenario, it’s the government itself which has made it into a large issue. The government claims it is committed against terrorism, but what does the federal minister for religious affairs say? He says in the media that the two brothers [Maulanas Ghazi and Aziz] had arms in their cars, but he intervened and got them off. Isn’t he supporting terrorists?
There are many laws to arrest somebody, there are anti-terrorism laws, anti-subversion laws and others. What the courts say is to please proceed according to these laws. If people are terrorists, lodge an FIR, arrest them, there is a whole mechanism provided. You can’t just pick up a person and keep him incommunicado for years. That becomes a missing persons case. The Supreme Court has never said to release people who are guilty of terrorism or even suspects in terrorism cases. The court says to process them according to law or make laws if the [existing ones] are deficient. To simply pick up people and detain them, however, is unconstitutional. The courts have no option but to release such persons – a person is, after all, innocent until proven guilty.
Everything the Supreme Court did was according to the law and constitution. It cannot be accused of doing something for its personal interest. On the other hand, on the very same day that the proclamation of emergency was issued, Major General Arshad Waheed announced that the military had released 25 militants in exchange for 213 army officers whom the militants had taken captive. So who is releasing these people? Had the court said to release them? Let’s put matters in their true perspective.
Q: In his address to the nation following the proclamation of emergency, General Musharraf spoke about the arrests of various law enforcement personnel and of the collision course the judiciary had chosen to embark on vis à vis the executive, which had “paralysed the state machinery and demoralised the law enforcement agencies.” How would you respond?
A: The Supreme Court has said a number of times that if the government does what it is required to do, there would be no need for it to take any action. The Supreme Court will be more than happy not to do anything. It is only when the government is so thoroughly incompetent that the Supreme Court has to initiate action in all matters, in environmental matters, in building matters – even in traffic matters in Karachi. There is so much corruption everywhere. The Supreme Court has only been intervening because its jurisdiction has been invoked, under Article 184, in matters of public importance affecting fundamental rights. They have never acted beyond this domain. And the general public has been very pleased whenever the Supreme Court has acted. The poorest of the poor support the actions of the Supreme Court.
You must also realise that in this parliament, there is no opposition. In fact, there is no parliament. These parliamentarians are a burden on the exchequer, and you and I are paying for them. We have the largest cabinet in the world. What it does, we don’t know. There are no question and answer sessions, matters are not decided in the parliament, nothing is debated. I think the Supreme Court played a very valuable role because without it there would have been anarchy on the streets and probably much worse. So the Supreme Court offers people a ray of hope.
Q: Do you believe the emergency was entirely triggered by the judgement of the bench hearing the case for General Musharraf’s election to the presidency?
A: A request was made from the lawyers side that a full court should hear the matter. You will recollect that before this judgment, there was another petition which was heard by a nine-member bench. Out of these, four of the judges said that the president could not file his nomination papers. The others dismissed the petition on a technicality saying that the person who had filed it was not an aggrieved person. In the second constitution of the bench, those gentlemen who had decided against Musharraf said that since they had already decided the matter, their conscience would not permit them to be part of this bench. So the new bench was probably the most sympathetic bench available that the president could get. You will recollect that it was headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, who, when the chief justice was removed, was made the acting chief justice by no less a person than General Musharraf himself. So where is there cause for grievance? If you’re not happy even with those who are perceived to be supporting you, does that mean you should get your own court?
Q: Presidential aspirant Justice Wajihuddin made some observations recently. He said that those who were to benefit from the NRO – quite pointedly the PPP – were in collusion with President Musharraf. He also pointed out that the new chief justice of the Supreme Court, Abdul Hameed Dogar, had been elevated to the Sindh High Court by the PPP government, the implication being that his elevation was certainly not anathema to the PPP. Do you agree?
A: I don’t know if Justice Wajihuddin has made these statements. I don’t want to comment upon conjecture and surmises.
Q:Justice Javed Iqbal went on record to state that Aitzaz Ahsan, as counsel for Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed, the plaintiff in the case, had prolonged the proceedings unnecessarily. He maintained that considering Aitzaz’s “political affiliations, he did not deploy what could have been a devastating argument against Musharraf’s nomination papers.” Do you concur with this allegation?
A: I would say that Aitzaz Ahsan is a reputable counsel. I think these comments are certainly not justified.
To say that Aitzaz, because he is affiliated with the Peoples Party, intentionally mishandled the case, is absolutely untrue. We all know that Benazir Bhutto is not happy with Aitzaz Ahsan, so the last person that she would be listening to or vice versa, would be Aitzaz Ahsan.
Q:What happens now to all the rulings that had been made by the Supreme Court prior to the proclamation of emergency? Can they be overturned?
A: Each and every judgment of the Supreme Court stands unless it is overruled.
Q:Can it be overruled by the current bench of the Supreme Court?
A: There is only one Supreme Court, there is no new Supreme Court. Anybody who takes oath under the PCO is violating the constitution and thus cannot be accepted or recognised as a judge.
Q:That notwithstanding, this is not the first PCO, and whatever their legitimate position, the courts have continued to function…
A: There is one big difference this time… this has never happened before. In all the earlier instances the Supreme Court found some fig leaf to justify military intervention by inventing the doctrine of necessity or by other means. The difference this time is that on the day of the proclamation of emergency and the issuance of the PCO, a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court struck down the PCO. The Supreme Court held, “The order states, no judge of the Supreme Court or the High Courts including chief justices shall take oath under PCOs or any other constitutional step. Any further appointment of the chief justice of Pakistan and the judges of the Supreme Court and chief justices of High Courts and judges of provinces under the new development shall be unlawful and without jurisdiction.” So there is an order operating. And what are the consequences of violating this order? Article 190 of the constitution stipulates that all executive and judicial authorities in Pakistan shall act in aid of the Supreme Court. So it is a binding order on each and every one of us. There is no way out of this order now. The fundamental difference this time is that the Supreme Court immediately convened and seven judges, the chief justice and the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court, including the second and the third, Justice Rana Bhagwandas and Justice Javed Iqbal, passed this order. So it carries a lot of weight. The judges went on to state, and this is very interesting, “The chief of army staff, corp commanders, staff officers, and all concerned of civil and military authorities are hereby restrained from acting on the PCO.” I think this concludes the matter and there is no fig leaf this time.
Q:What happens to all the judges who refused to take oath? Do they just go home?
A: No, they continue to be judges under the constitution and law.
Q:The courts will function without them. So will it not be just in name – unless the PCO is rescinded?
A: The only courts in Pakistan that can function are under those judges who took an oath under the 1973 constitution. All those who were judges on November 3, continue to be judges. In the constitution of Pakistan, there are only three ways a High Court or Supreme Court judge can be removed. One, if he dies in office. Second, if he resigns his office. Third, if the supreme judicial council removes him. The framers of the constitution, and this happens everywhere in the world, knew that you must provide security to a judge of the Supreme Court because he would be deciding sensitive matters and at times when you have powerful parties arrayed against you, for example the government or the president, you want to ensure that the judge is not going to be worried about his job. So there is absolute security of tenure. A Supreme Court or High Court judge cannot be removed at all. The minute you do that you fall foul of Article 6 and you are guilty of high treason. So Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry remains chief justice, and there is no other. Sabihuddin Ahmed is chief justice of the Sindh High Court. It is as simple as that, it’s black and white.
Q:How do you see the future of the judiciary?
A: The future couldn’t be bleaker. You can’t have democracy without an independent judiciary, you can’t have democracy without an independent media. Each and every officer of the armed forces and the civil bureaucracy, each and every member of parliament, should be asked about the oath they took under the constitution. Schedule 3 prescribes an oath of office for every one of them, as it does for the president of Pakistan and the prime minister. Under this oath they all swear to preserve and protect the constitution. So now each member of parliament, each federal minister, each provincial minister, each member of provincial assembly, the chairman of the Senate, each one is violating their oath of office. So either they don’t have the consciousness, or the conscience. Have they not read the oath that they took? Are they protecting the constitution when they go by this order which says that the constitution is held in abeyance?
Q:So is there going to be no fight-back by the legal fraternity?
A: The legal community is not entering the courts at this time.
Q:Doesn’t that affect all those whose cases desperately need to be heard?
A: Would you want a case to be heard by a person who has now sworn – and this is very important – not to challenge or to entertain any challenge against the proclamation of emergency or the PCO. Both these devices have been used to take away your fundamental rights. So if they decide to close, for instance Newsline, for printing this interview, what is your recourse? None. Ordinarily you would have gone to the High Court and filed a petition under Article 199, because you could say your fundamental rights had been violated. What will you do today? Nothing. The courts have sworn to uphold the proclamation of the PCO, which says that fundamental rights are out of the window. I know people will suffer, but they will suffer far more, [if they become party to this]. You have to prevent the disease from spreading.
Q:So the fight-back is essentially by an act of omission…
A: I don’t know where the constitution of Pakistan says that only the legal community is obligated to uphold the constitution. It is each and every one’s duty – not just that of civil society, but of every individual, including those in the military.
As for the lawyers, in one day, 500 lawyers were arrested. This is a world record. Three hundred and forty-four FIRs were lodged in Lahore, in just one police station. And lawyers have been charged with all sorts of offences. They were in court, the police barged in, hit them with batons, tear-gassed them and then lodged FIRs against them.
So the entire leadership of the lawyers has been incarcerated, including the second, third and fourth tiers. Still they are brave souls, they are coming out, and are paying perhaps the biggest price. Apart from the assaults on them, if they don’t appear in court, nobody is going to pay them. And it is not as though they will derive any personal benefit from their battle. This battle they are fighting is for Pakistan.
Q:Do you think the current status-quo will remain?
A: Our faith teaches us patience – one should never give up hope and must speak up against tyranny. But the reality is that a single phone call from Condoleezza Rice ensured that, earlier, no emergency was declared. I’m sure if President Bush, who pretends to want democracy in Pakistan, was to make a phone call, things could be immediately reversed. Unfortunately today, the people of Pakistan are not determining the events that are taking place in Pakistan, it is America who decides what happens in Pakistan.
And now the American nation has to, for once and for all, decide, do they stand by the people of Pakistan or do they stand by one individual?